By Herb Boyd | Published October 2022
For many years, Showman’s was a popular bar in Harlem where Jack McDuff and Preacher Robins, among others, used to attract crowds. Organist/pianist Brian Charette said that was one of his hangouts, and listening to him and his crew on Jackpot, his latest album, the music there seeped into his DNA. In fact, like the title of one of the tracks, Charette made a “Tight Connection,” one infused with that organ-guitar-saxophone sound that permeated so many clubs in the ’50s and ’60s.
Throughout the album, Charette’s speed and facility, his swift arpeggios take you back to those smoky havens where you didn’t care what was said from your company, only the band matter. Like “Tight Connection,” “Triple Threat,” is another tune that is aptly named, and guitarist Ed Cherry, tenor saxophonist Cory Weeds complete the awesome threesome as they take a deep dive into some old-fashioned gutbucket.
To say this group swings is like saying Aaron Judge is a good hitter, and while Judge misses on occasion, this group stays in the pocket, and even more so on “Vague Reply,” which, unlike the other tracks, has a misnomer for a title. And drummer Bill Stewart makes it explicit in his torrent of rhythmic replies.
But to get back to the titles being on point, “Jackpot” is just that, and Charette’s fingers fly across the keyboards as Weeds, Cherry and Stewart hustle to keep up. After all is said and done, the lottery pick is “Good Fortune,” and when they arrive at the groove spot, they take turns massaging it until the only thing left is “Unmasked.”
Jackpot: Polka Dot Pinup; Tight Connection; Triple Threat; Good Fortune; Upstairs; High Ball; Vague Reply; Jackpot; Unmasked. (46:68)
Personnel: Brian Charette, organ; Cory Weeks, tenor saxophone; Ed Cherry, guitar; Bill Stewart, drums.
Ordering Info: cellarlive.com